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Say It With Me

Vanessa Lampert
ISBN-13: 
9781781727010
Publication Date: 
Monday, April 24, 2023
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Rooted in everyday communities, the voice of Say It With Me is wry, candid and knowing, offering poems that playfully record the foibles of domestic life. There are curious stories: a parrot flies away but always returns to its master, a school bully becomes their victim’s acupuncture patient in adulthood, and a donor finds new kinship with the woman who receives his cells. All these stories are gems full of curious twists and turns.

Often the poems represent specific places and people, sometimes nostalgically so, like memories of family beach trips with loved ones now deceased. Others are flights of fancy: imagining a park of one’s dreams, an ode to the small pleasures of life, or inventing a new history where a father didn’t die young. Most significant however are the poignant and remarkable stories of family life. There are happy portraits as well as thoughtful poems concerning divorce and parenthood, also the body in triumph and decline. Though speakers take up a watchful distance from events, they are also fierce and unafraid to intervene. A middle-aged woman on the beach wades into the sea to chastise some lads playing with an inflatable sex doll.

“Say it with me” a line taken from the poem ‘Canada’ is a phrase that often precedes a rallying cry, or a brave but controversial factual statement. The tales in this collection feel true and honest and its title is a call to unite. This is a collection about the communities in which we live and the interconnectedness of human beings. The likeable speaker of these poems surveys it all with the dry humour and wisdom of an older woman, posing scenarios that we can all recognise as authentic. Ultimately, Vanessa Lampert uses deep and rich storytelling to lay bare truths that are at once funny, moving, and illuminating.

 

Praise for Vanessa Lampert: 

“The poems in Vanessa Lampert's new collection are lodestars. How lucky to be guided by them. In this book nature is more than an encounter to wonder about, it is a binding-- both to our home here on earth, the dailyness, joy and loss of that, and to our own corporeal selves. For anyone looking for the words to what it means to be human look no further: they are here.” – Matthew Dickman

“Vanessa Lampert has a rare talent for telling stories which, although they come from a place deeply personal to her, become universal in their rendering. These are poems which welcome us in like old friends, full of warmth and generosity, and which have the sudden ability to switch gears – and with them, our emotions – in just a few short lines or phrases. Say It With Me is a remarkable first collection of poems, a book infused with darkness and light, beauty and sadness, humour and ultimately, hopefulness.” – Brian Bilston

“In Say It with Me Lampert's observant and witty voice accompanies us through subtle turns in thought, redirecting our attention with a glance, a clearing of the throat, so that we step from the scenery of life, into the resonant emotional landscape of living. Her poems open the aperture, and expose us to the loss that time is always enacting upon us, its cruelty and its beauty.” – Jack Underwood

“Vanessa Lampert is a chronicler of minute but crucially significant moments; she holds them to the light to find their gleam and then shows them to us as stunning jewels. We enter one of her poems on the familiar ground of a summer beach or an ordinary municipal park, and leave years later, often having communed with those we’ve lost. What she accomplishes may seem simple, but the seismic shifts of our lives are packed into her humming lines. Her poems are like a fairground on the final night of the season – we want to clasp onto their joy and celebration that bit longer.” – Tamar Yoseloff

“The soul of Vanessa Lampert’s poetry is a high drifting generosity, a restless journeying through air and light: it descends into recollected darknesses, joys, miracles, and lifts again, consoled and consoling, out into streaming sky. It encompasses English years, English shires, English losses. Its lyricism is earned, its wit profound, its wisdom worn lightly. It is like an archive set free to be scattered afresh, to begin again, as if it had the grace and craft to heal all that was to follow. Lampert is one of the most enthralling new poets writing in – and of – the great aftermath of England.” – Glyn Maxwell

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